470-688 W. Hastings St, Vancouver, BC, V6B 1P1 1 604 408 0746 unifor2000@mediaunion.ca

PRESS RELEASE: For immediate release, July 30, 2020

Union files complaint over unpaid overtime and stat holidays at Vancouver visual effects studio

Unifor Local 2000 is filing a complaint with the Employment Standards Branch after several employees of Scanline VFX, a Vancouver visual effect studio, reported the company is not paying overtime or statutory holidays correctly.

“We learned Scanline VFX was asking people to sign contracts stating they were high-technology professionals,” said Jennifer Moreau, secretary-treasurer of Unifor Local 2000. “Companies that are considered high technology don’t have to pay overtime or stat holidays, but we are challenging Scanline’s claim to this status.”

Current and former Scanline VFX employees reported the studio does not pay overtime unless people work more than 45 hours in a week. According to the Employment Standards Act, which sets minimum standards for B.C.’s non-union workers, people working more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week are entitled to overtime. Furthermore, the workers stated Scanline VFX only pays staff for five of B.C.’s 10 statutory holidays.

“We are asking the Employment Standards Branch to investigate Scanline VFX and determine if they actually qualify for the high-technology exemption, and if they don’t, we’re asking that all employees be paid for any outstanding wages owed to them,” Moreau stated.

Scanline VFX workers are not unionized.

Unifor Local 2000 filed a similar complaint in 2016 against Nitrogen Studios, later purchased by Cinesite, for not paying Sausage Party animators overtime, and the branch determined the studio did not qualify for the high-technology exemption.

The Employment Standards Act defines a high-technology professional as someone who analyzes, designs or develops computer-based information systems or technological products or processed. It can also include someone carrying out scientific research. (Click here for more on the high technology exclusion)

The studio, Scanline VFX, employs hundreds of people at its Vancouver office and is known for work on Game of Thrones, Godzilla vs. Kong and Justice League.

Unifor Local 2000 represents media workers, mostly in the newspaper industry, as well as factory workers at Purdy’s chocolates.

“Like all visual effects studios in Vancouver, Scanline VFX is not unionized” Moreau said. “We’re encouraging any workers who have concerns about their rights to speak out.”

For more information, contact Jennifer Moreau at 604-816-5204 or email jmoreau@mediaunion.ca.

Click here for the complaint and the accompanying cover letter.